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How Marketers and Gurus Make Millions Psychologically Manipulating People


​The dark art of psychological manipulation can be powerful, profitable, and sometimes downright creepy.

This post covers the good, the bad, and the ugly, including what works and what doesn’t.

It describes Machiavellian strategies used in the guru/coaching/expert industry, as well as ​several persuasive and influential tactics that, while they might be manipulative, aren’t any more manipulative than what politicians, parents, preachers, police, and ​good people​ do every single day to get their way and make the world go around.

Some methods I endorse, some I do NOT.

Homicide detectives leverage the power of psychological manipulation to close countless murder cases and put a lot of ​bad people behind bars.

Take the controversial Reid Technique​, developed in the 1950s. During an interrogation, investigators insist they have evidence of a suspect’s involvement in a crime while shifting blame away from the suspect by justifying the crime.

The 9-step technique works so well, many overzealous homicide detectives have pushed it too far and convinced innocent people to confess to horrendous crimes.

DNA is now clearing some of these individuals, many who’ve spent ​decades behind bars for crimes they didn’t commit.

Now, when the suspect is guilty, and the method enables justice to be served, it’s psychological manipulation being used for good.

Just like a fitness or nutrition coach who persuades an obese prospect to make positive changes in their life by first imagining two futures.

One where they're fatter, lazier, and unhealthier. And one where they’re fit, vibrant, and healthy.

A coach savvy in the art of persuasion can get the prospect to see and feel these futures without​ ​being aware the coach just took them on a mental and emotional journey.

Such strategies can be extremely effective in getting past a person’s resistance to change. And many overweight people have a LOT invested in resisting exercise and healthy foods.

If, by leveraging psychology, a coach can convince an obese, unhealthy person to invest in their health and fitness and start making positive changes, they’ve done a good thing.

That new client’s entire life could improve. In fact, the coach may have saved their life. And ​it all started with the art and science of influence.

Psychological manipulation is one of the main reasons Tony Robbins makes 100X what your typical success coach makes.

And it has almost nothing to do with the quality/value of the coaching. Though Tony is a MASTER at getting people to BELIEVE that’s what makes the difference.

The REAL difference is in what’s right there in front of his audience’s eyes from the  first time they’re exposed to Tony’s message until he leads them up his ascension ladder—something Tony leverages an enormous amount of psychology to do.

Though not everyone who employs such strategies are as well-intentioned as homicide cops, personal trainers, and Tony Robbins.

The dark side of psychological manipulation…

​Throughout history, psychopaths, sociopaths, and ​megalomaniacs have toyed with people’s minds.

Hitler, cult leaders, con artists, pimps, and child predators have all used words as weapons to get their way.

Words can make someone fall in love with you or hate you. They can bring people together or force them apart. They can seduce or start a war. Can keep a person poor or make them rich.

They can be useless, nothing more than noises.

Or they ​can impact, influence, and persuade.

Here’s an example a guru trying to ​use mind control on a crowd…

There’s a guru, who I’ll call Scar, who, for many years, hosted an annual summit for personal trainers and gym owners who wanted to grow their businesses.

No doubt, lots of fitness entrepreneurs benefited from attending this event. Many of the guest speakers delivered fantastic content. And attendees forged win-win relationships with other success-minded individuals in the fitness industry.

I have friends to this day who I first met at that event over a decade ago.

In 2009, on the morning of day one of the event, one gym owner noticed something in the motivational video playing on the big screen over the stage.

What the…?

The video was a montage of social proof and other feel-good stuff over a soundtrack of inspirational music to get everyone pumped up.

This attendee was certain he saw something flash on the screen.

It happened so fast. The blink of an eye, really.

And he was correct.

He DID see something.

Something he wasn’t supposed to see…

Not on a level of conscious awareness, at least.

What he saw was supposed to slip below the radar—the absolute threshold level (ATL)—of his conscious awareness.

What he saw was meant for his subconscious mind, NOT his conscious mind.

Similar to Tyler Durden’s shenanigans as a projectionist splicing images of beefy man parts into family films, Scar’s videos contained embedded commands that flashed on the screen at a fraction a second.

Commands intended to get people to pull out their wallets and BUY.

As Edward Norton commented about the subliminal weenies in Fight Club, “Nobody knows they saw it, but they did.”

You see, at Scar’s event, for milliseconds on the screen flashed the commands…

Trust Scar.

Buy from Scar.

Trust Scar.

Buy from Scar.

Trust Scar.

Buy from Scar.


And over.

And over.

 Scar believed the audience would comply with the orders on the screen. After all, the subconscious mind is a powerful supercomputer.

​One of these days, I’m going to embed subliminal commands into relaxing music for my wife as she sleeps.

The commands will be: “Do what Chris says. Do whatever Chris says. Anything he wants anything, make it happen. And do it with a smile, woman. Do what Chris says.” Over and over, like Scar.

I may even have to do it to get my way on Sunday mornings.

You see, on Sundays, we take our crew of little ones out to breakfast. Sometimes we hit a diner, but I really enjoy getting Sriracha-Honey Sunrise bagel sandwiches from Bruegger’s Bagels and taking them to the park.

Problem is, my wife’s not a big fan of bagels.

So my thought is, in the relaxing sleep music I’ll play in our room each night, I’ll embed the commands: “I love bagels. Bagels are yummy. I can’t wait to go get bagels at Bruegger’s with hubby. Mmm.”

Now, will that make the wife more willing to go for bagels on Sundays?

I doubt it (might be worth a shot, though).

There was a famous experiment in 1956 by James Vicary, where 45,699 moviegoers were exposed to the commands “​Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coke” which flashed on the screen during a film for about one-third of a millisecond.

Vicary claimed that, due to the subliminal messages, popcorn sales increased 57.5% and Coca-Cola sales by 18.1%.

He later confessed to fabricating those numbers.

And while I doubt Scar’s subliminal commands were all that effective, it was only one of over a dozen techniques employed at the event to drive sales.

I’d wager that, compared to the many supraliminal methods he used—which CAN be perceived by the conscious mind—the subliminal  embedded commands played little, if any role, in generating sales.

Now, here’s an example of a supraliminal technique (also meant to shortcut trust) used at that same event….

On that same stage as the screen with the flashing embedded commands was an American Flag.

And to many of the good people of the United States, the American Flag represents trust, strength, and something to believe in. The white signifies purity and innocence. The red—valor and bravery. The blue—vigilance, perseverance, and justice. Together the stars and stripes represent authority and something worth fighting for.

And it sends a strong message about the speaker standing in front of it.

​However, unlike the embedded SUBliminal commands, the flag is SUPRAliminal.

It’s above the absolute threshold level of the audience’s conscious awareness. Everyone can see it.

One marketer who’s fantastic at employing supraliminal techniques of influence is Frank Kern.

I’ve attended quite a few of Frank’s seminars and workshops over the years and was in his private mastermind for awhile. All money well spent. He got close to $50K out of me, largely because he’s so good at this stuff.

Whenever I’ve attended one of Frank’s events, I’d keep a running list of the strategies of influence I spotted.

In fact, I often learned as much—if not ​more—analyzing seminars for these strategies than I did from what was being taught.

And at each of Frank’s events I’ve attended, he’s stacked one supraliminal technique on top of another.

Here’s one of my favorites…

I was at one of his Mass Control events. As usual, I was seated in the back corner.

Must’ve been a thousand people there.

Frank started tossing Easter eggs stuffed with cash into the crowd.

Hoping to catch an egg, all these attendees in front of me sprang to their feet, threw their arms up high, and splayed their fingers wide.

From where I was seated, seeing them all with their arms held high in the air and Frank on stage with the long surfer hair and beard he was sporting at the time…

... it looked like a bunch of people worshiping Jesus!

I'm not sure how many people in the crowd saw what was going on, but to me, it was obvious.

The message being sent to the subconscious minds of the audience was…

Worship Frank Kern, and you’ll get money.

And it was supraliminal fair play because it was right there in the open for everyone to see.

Anyone who cared to look deeply enough could’ve noticed it.

Especially if they were sitting in the back of the room where I was. I still kick myself for not snapping a photo.

I used to dissect all of Frank’s material for the stealth triggers he wove throughout the subtext.

Here’s another example…

There was a pre-launch video that ended with Frank walking along the beach—a place that symbolizes freedom (something Frank’s viewers, many stuck at dead-end jobs they hated, sorely wanted).

As Frank is walking and talking, he motions to a crack in the earth and tells the cameraman filming the video to watch his step.

The message to the viewer: You’re safe with Frank. Frank’s got your back. He’s watching out for you. And because of that, your money, time, and dreams are safe and secure when you invest them in a Frank Kern product.

A lot of internet marketers began working these types of strategies into their content.

As did I.

In November 2008, in a number of my Market Annihilator pre-launch videos, I changed locations. I’d start the video in one spot and travel to another.

In one video, I started at the gym and told the viewer what I was going to teach them. The camera then followed me as I climbed on my Harley. The camerawoman hopped on back and kept filming as I rode us to my house.

Now, you wouldn’t get on the back of a motorcycle with someone you don’t trust, would you?

And the way the video was filmed—with the camera POV being on the back of the ​bike—the viewer WAS on back.

What messaged does that send to the subconscious of the viewer?


Now, the video editor sped up the ride from the gym to my house. So while the camera filmed the ​trip, it flew by in a matter of seconds.

But I wanted them to take the viewer on that ride with me. To be the person on the back of my motorcycle who trusts me with their life.

Once we arrived at my house, the camera followed me inside, I introduced my obese cat, Bodhi, and then settled behind my desk, logged onto the computer, and revealed how my website was generating new clients every day for a personal training company I owned.

Now, not only did having the viewer on the back of the motorcycle imply trust, but the entire act of changing locations did as well.

I was doing what pickup artists (PUA's) refer to as bouncing.

A PUA might take an HB (PUAnese for “hot babe”) from a club, to a restaurant, to another club. 

The reason they change venues like this is to make the HB feel more comfortable with the PUA, thereby increasing ​the chances of ​a successful seduction.

So, by changing venues with the viewer, they’re a *little* more comfortable with me. A *little* more trusting.

During 2008 and 2009, if you were watching the big info-marketing launches, you saw the marketers in their pre-launch videos bounce you around from one location to the next.

It actually got pretty ridiculous.

Another thing we did—similar to having the viewer via camera POV climb onto  the back of my Harley—was have the camera person film us from the passenger seat while we changed locations.


You wouldn’t be the passenger in a vehicle if you didn’t trust the driver, right?

And when the camera is filming from the passenger seat, THAT’s the point-of-view of the viewer.



EVERY information marketer and guru was pulling this stuff. 

Now, the bouncing, passenger POV, beach crack NLP, Jesus Easter eggs were all SMALL TIME compared to some of the big levers we’ll get into in a moment.

None of these little techniques made the sale. But many made tiny contributions toward it.

One percent here. Two percent there.

Add the dozens of one and two percents from those little tactics with bigger the ​five, ten, and ​fifteen-percenter strategies—the ​more powerful psychological levers I’m about to discuss—and conversions go up. Every little bit helps.

Let’s take Scar’s annual summit, for example.

No single tactic was responsible for all the sales.

If the Universe magically served us up all the data from how much of an impact on sales every little element of Scars events had on sales, the embedded subliminal commands and the supraliminal use of the American Flag would be MINOR.

The ​bigger levers did the heavy lifting.

Let’s JUST take the six Weapons of Influence​ from Robert Cialdini’s class book Influence​—only a fraction of the strategies employed at the event.

If you’re not yet familiar with these weapons, they are:

- Reciprocity
- Commitment & Consistency
- Social Proof
- Liking
- Authority
- Scarcity

Now, if you were at the Scar’s event, you ​probably didn't notice the flashing commands telling you to trust him and buy from him.

But if you were familiar with Cialdini’s work, you’d have spotted one principle in action after another…

Reciprocity — People feel compelled to give back to others who’ve given to them. We feel the urge to balance the scales. To reciprocate.

Which is why…

Everyone who attended Scar’s even received a gift.

A voucher for food and drinks at the restaurant/nightclub across the street where the crowd would be going to party later.

And even though the attendees had paid hundreds of dollars to attend the event (essentially paying for the voucher themselves) the voucher was presented as a gift.

A gift that earned reciprocity points.

Commitment & Consistency — People want to appear consistent in their behavior.

Knowing this, throughout one event, Scar told the audience that, just by attending this event, they were all five-percenters. The top five percent of go-getters in the fitness industry. Fitness entrepreneurs who "get shit done."

Not like the 95 percent of the industry who’ll never do anything significant with their lives.

Then, when Scar pitched a paid mastermind group, he had everyone interested raise their hands.

I believe about eight or ten percent of the 430+ people in attendance raised their hands. Scar herded them onto the stage in front of everyone.

He told the rest of the crowd (who were still seated) that the men and women on stage were the real doers.

He reminded the audience that just by attending this event, everyone in the room was a five-percenter.

“But these action takers on the stage, these are the one-percenters.”

Then when it came time to get into the 5-figure price tag of the mastermind and get all the “one-percenters” to hand over their payment information and sign the contracts, they wanted to stay consistent with their new, coveted “one-percenter” status.

No way they wanted to go back to being a plain ol’ ​five-percenter.

Authority — People tend to obey authority figures. Cialdini often points to the famous Milgram experiment as an example.

Well, just the fact that Scar was on stage, hosting the event, and delivering his presentations (and projecting confidence as he did) positioned him as an authority figure.

Liking — People prefer to say yes to people they like.

By and large, we like people who are similar to us, who compliment us or cooperate with us toward mutual goals.

We also tend to like people who do likable things, such as contributing time or money to make a difference in the world.

So, during the event, Scar made sure to let the audience know about the philanthropy work he’s involved in. About the sick children he donated too.

This increased his likability factor, thereby making him more influential.

Social proof — People tend to emulate the actions of others. If it’s safe for the rest of the tribe, then it must be safe for us.

The crowd of hundreds of people listening to Scar talk (implying that what he has to say is important) was social proof that you, too, should listen to Scar.

The video testimonials woven between flashes of the "Trust Scar" and "Buy from Scar" commands provided further proof.

The testimonials were from personal trainers and gym owners just like the audience who gave Scar money and got results. So just give Scar money like they did, and you’ll get results too.

At one point during the event, ​the attendees posed for a group photo ​donning ​black t-shirts ​with the words "I’m with Scar" on front. 

Scar stood in the middle wearing a red shirt ​that said: "I’m Scar."

Powerful social proof.

Scarcity — People want what they can’t have or what they think they’re going to lose a chance to get. And limited supply creates higher perceived value.

One example of scarcity from the event was alerting the crowd that if they wanted to join the mastermind, now’s their chance. If they don’t join before the event is over, they’ll be locked out because there are only so many seats available.

Here's another example...

​After pitching a new area-exclusive boot camp licensing program, Scar told the crowd that, if they want to open a location,​ they needed to hurry to the back of the room and lock down their territory (otherwise, ​someone else could snatch it from them).

What ​attendees didn't know was that...

Runners had been planted in the crowd. 

​The runners sprang to their feet and dashed to the sign-up tables in back, feigning like they were signing up—​taking all the good areas—creating a sort of scarcity frenzy.

These planted runners also established social proof. So they ​were a double whammy of influence.

Anyone in marketing knows the power of a deadline.

I’ve launched many info products and coaching programs over the years. There’s always a ​massive ​spike in sales on the final day​ before the doors close (or before the price increases).

For years I had a coaching program for fitness coaches who wanted more clients. There were two tiers, $5,000 and $10,000.

Usually, whenever I sent an email to my list and mentioned this program, I’d make either one or two sales. So $5,000 to $20,000. Usually $5K or $10K.

Well, after having the program open for a while, I wanted to focus more on information products and less on coaching, so I decided to shut down the coaching.

I wrote an email and sent it to my list, telling them this was their last chance to join the program because I was closing it.

Knowing full-well the power of scarcity, I figured I’d get a nice bump in sales.

Did I ever!

That email did 6 figures in coaching sales.

THAT’s what scarcity can do.

My first info-product launch—a course that taught personal trainers and gym owners how I got clients from the internet—did $304K in billable sales in 8 days.

I don’t remember the exact percentage of sales per day. But ​I believe it was approximately...

​- 50% of the sales came in day one
- 10-15% total between days two-through-seven
- 35-40% day eight, the closing day.

The reason day one was the largest was because I ran a two-week pre-launch up until the morning the doors opened AND used a fast action scarcity offer—an extra bonus for anyone who bought in the first 24 hours.

In subsequent launches, where I didn’t run a big pre-launch or offer a fast-action bonus, the last day ​almost always ​​does the most sales.

Often to the tune of over 70% of the sales.

It’s easy to see why so many businesses rely on deadlines to make scales.


These days most scarcity is fake as a blow-up doll named Candy.

Just about every coaching program or transformation challenge these days advertise having only two spots left.

Or five. Or seven. Or one.

Or make up any number you want that doesn’t sound like a lot.

That sounds like at any minute now, it could be zero. That you’re about to be shut out for good, so ya better hurry!

Just about every boot camp markets like this these days (many owned by friends of mine). And the number of “spots left” is almost always a made-up number.

​Ninety-nine percent of the coaches who advertises only two spots left will take as many people as they can get.

If 100 more people tried to join, they’d find a way to squeeze ’em in.

In fact, if ONLY two more people joined, they’d slip into panic and depression because they’d go out of business.

Two is what they say when they’re hoping for 20.

And consumers are onto this.

They’ve seen the two—or five or seven or whatever—spots left thing countless times and no longer buy it (though many still fall for it).

​Now, the good news is…

You don’t have to ​resort to embedded subliminal commands, planted runners, ​or bogus scarcity to increase influence...

There are ways to influence buying decisions that are both on the up-and-up and highly effective.

FAR more effective than flashing commands on a screen at a fraction of a second.

And when you leverage the psychological triggers to influence people to make decisions that are GOOD for them, that improve their lives, you’re doing a good thing.

In fact…

Every successful marketer, preacher, and politician uses some form of psychological manipulation.

Politicians do it to get votes.

Preachers do it to get you to invite your friends and put money in the basket.

Marketers do it to generate leads.

Salespeople do it to close deals.

Detectives do it to get confessions.

CEOs do it to win negotiations.

Generals do it to win wars.

Athletes do it to win games.

Almost EVERYONE does some form of it to attract a mate.

Companies do it in their commercials, in their customer service departments, and on their product packaging.

Parents do it to get their child to stop vandalizing the hallway walls with crayons, clean their room, and eat their veggies.

And if you’re a coach, consultant, guru, expert, or entrepreneur who’s the face of your business…

…and you understand how to ​activate an orchestra of psychological triggers (like the ones I’m about to share)...

​...provided what you sell adds massive value to people's lives​...

...you can build yourself a tribe of devout clients, almost cult-like in their loyalty to you and your brand.

Now, I realize the word “cult” may freak a few people out.

What comes to mind are yogi-like gurus marrying children and convincing their followers to drink Kool-Aid, brand themselves, and shut out “suppressives” (or SP—for Suppressive Person—as they’re called in Scientology).

When I refer to a cult, THAT’s not the kind of cult I’m talking about.

By cult mean I mean something closer to this definition:

“Great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (such as a film or book)”

And what business doesn’t want that?

And there are strategic ways to do it. Ways not only backed by research experiments on human behavior but proven to work time and again in the real world.

I employed much of it in my own business (before becoming uncomfortable being in the spotlight and stepping back to work behind the scenes on other people’s businesses—something much more suited to my introverted personality).

And if you 100% believe your product or service can help people, and you have their best interest in mind, employing these techniques is a WIN not just for you, but for your clients as well.

Now, just like increasing the persuasiveness of your marketing and conversion systems increases sales…

…activating the core psychological triggers of influence increases retention, ascension, and average client lifetime value.

Something smart businesses focus on.

Implementing a Grand Strategy of Influence like I’m about to describe can help you do that.

It also increases the conversions of lead nurture campaigns so that a higher percentage of leads convert to clients on the ​fifth, ​tenth, and ​fifteenth touch via email, Messenger, SMS, etc.

Most businesses wing this stuff.

​Many ​autoresponder series try to sell, sell, sell but do little-to-nothing to create real influence.

It may educate. It may be one more attempt to convince the lead to buy or hop on a strategy call.

But it does only a fraction what it could.

Using the strategy below can…

    •    Increase conversions.

    •    Increase the amount you’re able to charge.

    •    Strengthen brand loyalty.

    •    Ascend more clients to higher-ticket programs.

    •    Retain clients longer.

    •    Convert more clients into evangelists (which generates more referrals).

Clients who would’ve stayed for just months end up staying for years.

Customers who would’ve just bought your entry-level product ascend to your most expensive offer.

Clients who would’ve given you just a little money give you a lot of money—even if the quality or value of your product or service remains the same.

You become a part of your clients’ identity that they feel damn good.

Am I saying this will happen with every lead and every client?

Hell no.

Probably won’t even happen with most of 'em.

However, in terms of lifetime client value, it isn’t uncommon in coaching/consulting/expert/knowledge businesses for…

- 20% of clients become FAR more valuable.
- 60% of clients become SOMEWHAT more valuable.
- 20% of clients stay the same. No increase.

Which often results in a tremendous increase in average lifetime value.

And that’s without having to increase client acquisition costs.

Though, once average lifetime value increases, you’re obviously able to spend more per acquisition.

And the business that can afford to spend the most to acquire a new customer wins.

So how’s it work?

Step one: Develop a psychological profile of your average ideal client or customer.

This should include (especially the area you help them improve) their...

- ​Fears
- Frustrations
- Desires
- Enemies
- Core beliefs
- Core values
- Points of emotional impact, including pain points
- Lingo
- Etc.

Usually, much of this data is buried in their subconscious three to ​six layers deeper than any answers they’d provide in, say, a survey. Sending out surveys CAN be helpful but rarely get to the goods.

Now, ask most entrepreneurs, and they’ll tell you they already know their ideal client inside and out.

When, in reality, ​fewer than ​ten or fifteen percent of businesses and coaches are aware of their ideal client's TRUE Psychological Influence Profile.

I’ve worked with coaches and entrepreneurs who’ve served niches for over a decade, who thought they understood the psychology of the people they were trying influence, yet couldn’t understand why their content and marketing w​eren't profitable.

The problem was, all they understood was what they gathered from glancing at the surface.

They didn’t understand the beating heart of their clients.

And since they didn’t understand it, they couldn’t effectively speak to it, touch it, and influence ​them.

I’ve seen them use ​jargon in their ads and content their potential clients would NEVER use, focus on benefits their audience could care less about, and drive home points that simply don’t matter to their customer.

Once they honed in their understanding of the psychology of who they were selling to and took the next two steps, their entire business became far more profitable.

REAL emotional influence often happens a few layers below the surface.

Which is why you must dig deep enough to get to the roots.

It also enables you to best help your client.

Now, good marketers and direct response copywriters are aware of this.

They know that you want to enter the conversation going on in their target’s mind.

The key to doing this is knowing WHO they are, what keeps them up at night, what frustrates the hell out of them, and want they most in life.

Often what they want goes a lot deeper than what’s on the surface.

For example, when I was personal trainer, whenever I spoke with a prospect about their fitness goals, I kept asking them questions like...


“Why is that?”

“How does that make you feel?”

​Or one I learned from Dr. Drew: "I wonder why that is...any idea?"

At first, they often say something along the lines of “I just want to be healthier,” or “I want to lose twenty pounds.”

That’s the surface reason.

​By continuing to ask WHY...

"WHY do you want to be healthy?"

"WHY do you want to lose twenty pounds?"

​...about five or six layers deep I’d get to the REAL reason:

His wife just left him for another man, he looks like ​crap and feels like ​crap about himself, and he's worried he’ll be alone for the rest of his life. He wants to be able to date attractive women so he can get over his wife and hopefully fall in love again and live out his life with a companion.

Now, this can take some digging to get to, and often the prospect is too embarrassed to state it directly, so the answer will be in the subtext. What we don’t say, and HOW we say things, is often closer to the truth than what we say.

But with rare exception, in content, you don’t have the same luxury as a conversation to discover what makes each of your readers or viewers tick.

Which is why you MUST have a clear picture of who it is you’re targeting.

You need to know who are your average ideal customer is, what angers them, what they agonize over, what they worry about, what language they use, what excites them, and what they want most (especially in the area of life your product, service, or content helps fix).

Surveys can give some clues.

In-depth conversations​ with ​as many of ​your ideal clients as is reasonably possible is often far more revealing. 

As is analyzing response data (email opens, clicks, opt-ins, sales etc when you touch on certain buttons) as well as Facebook Insights.

The better you know you’re ideal customer and can enter the conversation going on in their head, the better you’ll be able to tailor your content toward them and influence them.

The better you'll be able to push those hot buttons buried below the surface.​​

​Step two: Flesh out following...

- Your persona in a way that mirrors the idealized version of your client (in the area of their life that you help you them improve). Think of yourself as playing a character. The character can—and ​should be authentically YOU, but it's also a role you play. A role that accentuates the aspects of yourself relevant to your audience reaching their goals.​

- Your unique voice in a way that’s original, compelling, and speaks to your ideal client on a visceral level.

- Your core message in a way that enables you to not only enter the conversation already going on in their mind but that articulates their problems, frustrations, fears, dreams/desires, suspicions, enemies, core values, and core beliefs better than they’re able to themselves.

- Your origin story — Reveal WHY you do what you do and the road you've taken to get to where you are. Ideally ​in some variation of monomyth form but doesn’t always need to be told in whole. Specifics chapters/scenes of your journey can be deployed at the legs of your ​audience's journey where they’ll have the greatest impact.

- Ongoing adventures with multiple delayed conflict-resolution gaps​.

- Your likability factor — Clients who love you and what you represent to them will give you far more money over time than those who don’t, even if the actual value of your product or service remains the same.

And as I explain in another post, as I long ago learned from Dan Kennedy, the real business most coaches and experts are in is the self-aggrandizement business. However, without notching up likability (as I describe here), it’s easy to repel your ideal client by coming across as arrogant.

- The benefits of your products, services, and methods.

Step three: Unite steps one and two above in your…

A. Content (ideally ​loaded with open loops, unresolved conflict, cliff hangers, teases/hooks, etc).

B. Offers

C. Communication

There are over three dozen triggers you can repeatedly activate throughout all your content, ads, and communication.​​

Now, laying out all these triggers goes far beyond the scope of this blog post.

However, in a moment, I’ll tell you about some of the books and resources where ​you can learn a lot of this stuff (​I make no money plugging these, by the way. I’m not affiliate for these resources). Many of them are books you can pick up for ten or fifteen bucks on Amazon.

Collectively, employing these triggers in my clients’ businesses has generated hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here are some examples in action…

Some triggers are​ relatively universal and can be applied the same way to most any audience.

Others are like a key code, customized from the data of steps one and two above and then used in step three.

It’s very personalized to your brand and your ideal client.

Now, I’m not sure which niche you serve.

I work with clients in fitness, sports, success, entertainment, business, marketing, relationships, cannabis, automotive, art, fiction, and travel.

Many are what you’d consider gurus, mentors, experts, coaches, authors, and consultants.  

All of them are the face of their business.

Their businesses are personality-driven. THEY are their brand.

And when you leverage these strategies, SOME of the parallels between coach/client and cult-leader/devoted-follower become striking (without the bad juju or ​harmful manipulation).

Anyone who was in the info-marketing space and remembers when Frank Kern was the Long-Haired-Surfer-“Dude”-From-The-Big-Lebowski Frank, witnessed this first hand.

A segment of the internet marketing community wanted to become what Frank represented and figured the best way was to give Frank money. And they did. A LOT of it.

He built himself an internet marketing cult.

I know because I joined the damn thing!

Between his info-products, seminars, a workshop, mastermind group, and ​a day of private consulting, like mentioned earlier, I gave him close to $50K.

Most other internet marketers got only get a fraction of that from me. Sure, I might have dropped $2,000-$3,000 on one of their information products, but I didn’t ascend most their program ladders ​as I did with Frank and a few other gurus.

And it’s because Frank’s a master at activating many of these triggers.

Now, I don’t know who your ideal client is.

But one thing I’m certain of…

Is that they have an enemy.

The enemy could be a person, entity, group, industry, condition, mindset, the status quo, a philosophy, you name it.

Even monks have enemies, by the way (depending on their tradition, this enemy could be the egoic mind, Satan, etc.)

And almost nothing bonds people like having a shared enemy.

An ancient proverb says…

"The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

And I’ll add that the BEST friend of all is the friend who joins forces with you to fight your shared enemy.

Who stands up to the enemy with you.

Who hurls rocks at the enemy.

Who saves you and yours from the enemy.

Helps your overcome the enemy.

My client BigMike Straumietis has a number of brands, most in the cannabis industry. In some of those brands, the enemy is Big Marijuana (like Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, but with weed.)

And while BigMike now does over $100M a year, he’s always been the “little guy” at heart.

David in the face of Goliath.

He’s stood up to massive bullies over the years...

​- Neighborhood bullies as a kid.

- Two governments and a biker gang when he was an outlaw grower.

​- A group of competitors doing over a billion a year in combined annual revenue who went to great lengths to try to get him shut out of the industry.

BigMike is the epitome of a cannabis grower.

Since 1983 he’s overseen the cultivation of over a million marijuana plants.

And, along with his team of 30 PhD scientists, has developed 53 innovations and advancements in the science of cannabis cultivation.

In fact, if you’ve grown or consumed cannabis in the last 15 or so years, you’ve enjoyed the benefits of least some of these advancements.

Today’s cannabis is better because of BigMike. And he’s been featured on the cover of every major cannabis magazine.

BigMike loves the cannabis community and is well-respected in it.

Now, over recent years, big-money corporate outsiders have come in to claim their piece of the cannabis profit pie. They’re poured immense resources into squeezing out the small and mid-size commercial growers. And, in many cases, they’re  succeeding.

They lobby for laws and regulations that favor big money (and often win).

And they deal with such quantity they can sell their cannabis for far less than smaller growers can.

The entire mess has devastated ​many growers​ in California's Emerald Triangle, where, for decades, ​growers have fed their families by growing the plant they love.

Because of Big Marijuana, regulations are in place that make it near impossible for many old school growers to do business legally.

And the price of a pound of cannabis is a fraction of what it used to be.

Corporate Cannabis has come in stomping on the soul of the true cannabis growing community. It’s heartbreaking to watch.

So what does Mike do?

He attacks the enemy.

As Blair Warren taught in his One Sentence Persuasion program, BigMike throws rocks at the enemy.

He stands for the little guy.

Fights for laws that support the small grower.

Over time, BigMike has built himself the world’s most profitable cannabis business.

But he did it from the ground up, starting with outlaws grows in the early ’80s, and then moving into the legal side as laws changed.

He isn’t some big money investor coming in to profit off the Green Rush.

He’s the little guy who’s fought his ass off for nearly four decades to become the big guy.

He’s walked hard roads through the darkest of valleys and come out on top (I would know, I penned his soon-to-be-released memoir).

And today, he stands for the little guy.

That creates a bond with BigMike’s following that runs deep.

No other cannabis mogul has the amount of influence BigMike has.

And part of it is standing up and throwing stones at an enemy he shares with the cannabis community.

Combine that with the ​dozens of other triggers we consistently activate, and it’s easy to see how BigMike has become so successful in the industry.

He's well-known as the best marketer in cannabis. Here he is on the cover of High Times on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher...

When I started helping him with ​these strategies, his business was doing $30 million a year. And now, ​as he describes in the video I share ​at the end of this post, the methods I’m referring to on this page have played a key role him doing over $100 million a year now.

No one in the cannabis industry does this stuff ​at the level BigMike does. 

​And he's invested more time and education in learning marketing than probably anyone I know—and I'm close to a LOT of damn savvy marketers who've dedicated their lives to the craft.

Shared human experience  

Another strategy is connecting with an audience through some deep shared, human experience with either a disclosure or what I call Bridge Stories.

Stories that create ​bridges of rapport between you and your ​audience.

These kinds of stories can include…

– Dealing with a common frustration—this is one stand-up comedians use A LOT
– Stories about your mother or father
– Not getting something you wanted for Christmas or your birthday
– Crazy things that might have happened at a family get-together
– Stories about school
– Being hired or fired from a job
– Losing your first boyfriend/girlfriend
– Pets, or the loss of a pet
– Divorce
– Stories about your children
– Debt or bankruptcy
– Taxes
– Stories about being screwed over
– Stories about loss
– Overcoming alcoholism/addiction
– Something embarrassing happening
– Stories or disclosures about insecurities, flaws, mistakes, failures, strange quirks, etc.

For example, here’s one Dan Kennedy gets into in his Influential Writing and Communication Workshop

Dan is open about having gone through bankruptcy, something most business consultants would conceal (even though it’s a matter of public record).

Not only does Dan's openness about it enable him to control the narrative

But when someone admits something that most people would hide, we tend to put more trust in the rest of what they say.

For example, savvy copywriters know that by disclosing a flaw with their product, readers will be more likely to believe the rest of the salescopy. After all, you were open about something most businesses would hide, so you must be being straight about everything.

Disclosing the flaw makes the rest of the copy more believable.

And admitting flaws or failures makes someone appear more human and relatable.

Most of us love flawed, complex characters in stories.

And the television show The Wire was chock-full of them, including some of my favorites of all time, like Omar Little, Stringer Bell, and Jimmy McNulty.

On the show, many of the criminals (the “bad guys”) have some admirable traits, and the cops (the “good guys”) have glaring flaws.

We’re all shades of gray. We all have our strong points as well as weak points.

Jimmy McNulty was a ​detective on the show played by Dominic West. And man, that dude was FLAWED! ​

But if he was flawless, I never would’ve emotionally invested myself in his journey over five seasons of some of the greatest television ever made.

I wouldn’t have cared about him.

But McNulty was complex. A good guy with some ​genuine, human faults.

​​Think of your favorite fictional characters. I bet almost all of them have flaws. The flaws keep us interested. Keep us fascinated.

As do the strange quirks and vulnerabilities and mistakes they make.

Dan explains how, in the Superman comics, readership almost ​ fizzled out until the Achille’s Heel was introduced…


Our favorite characters have vulnerabilities.

If they didn’t, if they were impossible to kill or hurt (whether physically or emotionally), no one would root for them.

If they’re guaranteed victory over the villain, guaranteed to get the girl, guaranteed to win the game, there’s no conflict, drama, or entertainment.

Nothing to keep readers or viewers fascinated.

Our favorite characters may be righteous and stand for all sorts of values that resonate with us, but they’re far from perfect.

​Perfect is boring.

But that’s how many businesses, coaches, “experts,” and marketers try to come across…


Like they’re 100% on top of every aspect of their game.

That’s boring and people don’t trust it because it’s not authentic.

​It's not HUMAN​.

Dan disclosing his bankruptcy stimulates trust, makes him interesting, and makes us like him more.

It makes him more HUMAN (and people ​prefer to do business with a human, rather than a soulless entity).

And further, any member of his audience of entrepreneurs who’ve been bankrupt​ now feel a deeper connection to him.

A kinship.

Same when he brings up his past stuttering, alcoholism, and divorces.

By now revealing this stuff...

...he strengthens his connection with members of his audience who've struggled with stuttering, alcohol, divorces, or bankruptcy, OR ​​who've even had a close loved one ​struggle ​(like a mother with a son who stutters or whose husband is an alcoholic).

That’s a large segment of his following. Bring up enough flaws, and tell enough bridge stories and he hits ’em all.

Will it resonate with everyone​?

Nope. Disclosing flaws and failures, like bankruptcy, will repel people for sure. People who aren’t a good fit for Dan and would be a better fit for some other guru.

If you want your message to resonate deeply with people, you have to be willing to turn off others.

To try to attract everyone waters down the message. You’ll never have some people love you if you’re not willing to have others hate you.

To get some people invested emotionally one way, you have to be willing to let others get worked up emotionally the other way.

It’s much better to be one of those individuals others either “love or hate” than be someone no one feels deeply either way about. Who no one invests in emotionally.

And one of the best ways to speak to people emotionally, build trust, and come across as a genuine human is to disclose flaws and tell bridge stories.

But not every bridge story need involve a flaw or personal failure.

A story from elementary school or of getting your first car or not getting what you wanted for Christmas one year or your dog dying can all be used to create bridges.

We all went to school, got a first car, and at ​some point didn’t get ​something we wanted. Plus those of us who’ve had pets have had pets die.

Now, the best stories are the ones that are relevant to your clients' goals.

For example, if you’re a fitness coach, you want to tie your stories in some way to your client reach their health and fitness goals (sometimes you gotta get creative here).

Look for where you can connect the underlying lessons, values, principles in stories to helping your audience move toward their goals.

The stories—which could be from your life, someone else’s life, or even be parables or fables—should entertain, connect, and benefit them in some way.

Dogs of influence…

Justin Goff is a marketer with a fantastic email newsletter for copywriters, where he employs many principles of influence.

Pulling seven figures from a list of less than a thousand subscribers, he has an incredibly high email subscriber value.

In his newsletter (as well as his social media content) he uses something that hits a lot of people right in the heart…


You see, Justin is a dog lover and often talks about them in his content.

This enables him to develop rapport with many members of his audience who are also dog lovers.

But it goes beyond that.

One of his email newsletters started with…

“Last week I reached out to a local Great Dane rescue here in Austin to see if they needed any help with raising money.”

​I don’t know about you, but reading that makes me like Justin a little bit more.

I mean, going out his way to help a dog rescue is an awfully nice thing to do, and no doubt wins likability points with many—if not all—of his readers.

In the email, Justin explains that when the woman who runs the rescue asked if he had any ideas.

​He told her that he has experience building multi-million dollar businesses that included direct mail marketing and that he could help her (pro bono) with a direct mail campaign.

This mention of the successful businesses he’s built enables Justin to remind his subscribers of his authority as a marketer and entrepreneur.

In the email sequence, Justin describes coming up with a strategy to target people who’ve previously donated over $100 to the rescue. By revealing his strategy, Justin is teaching marketing lessons to subscribers, which is what many of them signed up for.

He’s adding value to their lives.

Justin describes how he wrote the letter for the rescue (winning more of those juicy likability points because the work was pro bono).

In another email, Justin drives people to a video in his FB group where breaks down the letter and the strategy, why he did it the way he did it, and the results—further teaching his reader and proving his copywriting chops.

This email sequence (which was 2 or 3 emails total) was a powerhouse of influence.

Since the content was told in a story, it was entertaining, which keeps people reading and looking forward to future content.

After all, storybooks are much more fun than textbooks.

Human beings are wired to be captivated by a good story.

The email enabled him to teach his readers and add value to their lives.

​And because he’s the ​big-hearted fella donating his time and effort to rescue dogs, ​it scored likability points​.

It also enabled him to bond with fellow dog lovers (44% of Americans own a dog).

It established authority and…

provided proof he knows what he’s talking about and that his methods work.

It enabled him to self-promote like crazy while coming across extremely likable ( a topic I discuss in another blog post — how to boldly self-promote in a super cool way).

And now I’m telling the story for him! I’m spreading the damn legend and further building his authority.

And people sharing your content or story is one of the biggest—and most cost-effective—ways to build an audience​.

Influence, influence, influence…

Content should work on more than just one level. More than the just the surface. More than just the text.

​Now, hitting just one trigger, one time (like in an ad or single piece of content) isn’t going to do much to influence your audience.

But when you consistently hit a wide range of dozens triggers in your content...

... you can gain a tremendous amount of influence over a segment of your audience who will eagerly give you money over and over and over, ascend to your most expensive programs, and evangelize for you (like I’ve done for Robert Cialdini, Justin Goff, Dan Kennedy, BigMike, Frank Kern, The Wire in this post).

Repetition is key.

You want to hit as many of these triggers as you can, over and over and over in your content (whether it’s videos, podcasts, email newsletters, blog posts, videos, on stage, social media posts, etc), in your offers, and even in your direct communication.

This not only enables you to attract more of the right kinds of clients…

…it enables you to increase price, ascension, retention, and referrals​ and can have a tremendous impact on the average client lifetime value, in many cases multiplying it many times over.

And in coaching, consulting, and expert/knowledge/guru businesses, these strategies can often increase the average client lifetime value far more than just about any improvements you make to your service (not saying it *should* be this way, but it IS like that).

Now, this post contains only a few of the many dozens of triggers and strategies you can employ.

If you’d like to learn more of them, be sure to get on my email newsletter list here…

Recommended reading/studying: 

Blair Warren — One Sentence Persuasion.

Robert Cialidni — Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Sally Hogshead — Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist

Dan Kennedy — Influential Writing and Communication Workshop, Personality in Copy CDs, and Advanced Coaching and Consulting Seminar.

Frank Kern — Mass Control and Core Influence.

Dave Lakhani — Subliminal Persuasion: Influence & Marketing Secrets They Don't Want You To Know

Robert Greene — 48 Laws of Power

​Steven Goldstein — The Turn-On: How the Powerful Make Us Like Them-from Washington to Wall Street to Hollywood

Eric Hoffer — True Believer

Tim Sanders — The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life's Dreams

​Patrick Hanlon — Primal Branding

And about sharing your origin story…

James Bonnet — Stealing Fire From the Gods

Christopher Vogler — The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Nancy Duarte — Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

You can also…

Read about how I used these types of strategies to build my own business.

And how to boldly self-promote in a super cool way (how to boast in a likable way).

Big Chris

P.S. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you got something from it, please click the "like" button—at the top or bottom of the post—share it on social media, and maybe pass it along to someone you think it would benefit.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

P.P.S. As mentioned earlier, when I started helping cannabis mogul BigMike with this stuff, his business was doing $30M a year. And now, like he describes in a video, these methods have played a key role him doing over $100M a year now. 

​Check it out...

See what dozens of 6-, 7-, 8-, and 9-figure-a-year entrepreneurs say about me ​HERE.

​And, as I said, if you’d like to learn more of these triggers and strategies, be sure to get on my email newsletter list here…

Mindset, Madness, and How To Make The Flaw of Attraction Actually Work


When it comes to building a successful life or business, in my experience, mindset goes a LONG way.

And if you've achieved some success in your own life, no doubt you understand the value of a positive mindset and a can-do attitude.


...​and this almost always makes a few people mad when I say it (​though rarely people who are kicking ass in life and/or business, BTW)...

​The popular Law of Attraction (or, as some call it, the Flaw of Attraction​​) isn't nearly what many of its proponents chalk it up to be

In fact, I wrote a post about it years ago and still get hate comments and messages from LOA devotees about it.

Now, don't get me wrong...

I have no doubt ​that life tends to direct us toward that which we think about most often. That our minds (unconsciously even) seek it out.

I’ve seen plenty of proof in my own life, where my thoughts went a long way toward attracting both situations and things I wanted, as well as ones I didn’t want.

But rarely does someone attract anything great completely by the power of thoughts and feelings alone—especially when it comes to something significant like building a business​.

Let's start with visualization...

Something I've benefited ​from tremendously. And people much smarter and more successful than I am do it every day.

​Many pro athletes do ​it before events or games.

​Performers do it before delivering a flawless performance.

​And ​thousands of 7-, 8-, and 9-figure-a-year entrepreneurs do ​it every day.

​Back in 2007 and 2008, I used to see myself doing 7 figures selling my own info products and coaching programs to coaches, gym owners, and personal trainers. 

I saw myself having a ​tribe of customers and clients who bought ALL ​my programs.

And I saw myself living in my dream house. 

​I saw my clients building 7-, 8-, and 9-figure businesses of their own.

Soon, the life I saw was my reality (​though, ​once I got all that stuff I actually ended up miserable. But I DID get everything I wanted).

Imprinting a vision of our desires on our subconscious mind as if they were reality can go a long way toward making those desires our actual reality.

And many ​people believe attaching intense feelings to the visuals can make the practice even more effective. Though, I'm ​unaware of any science t​hat proves this.

However, I have made it part of my practice. I mean, since I was already in the habit of visualizing, why not​ throw in some yummy feelings? If nothing else, it made me feel good.

​​Now, as far as I know, the Law of Attraction has no scientific basis​.

But that doesn't mean I'm willing to discount the power of visualization.

In fact, it makes sense that if we ​want something in life, we should see it first.

Have a clear picture to imprint on both the conscious and subconscious parts of our mind.

​A clear target for us to ​aim for. After all, if you're a hunter and want to shoot, say, a deer, doesn't it make sense to get it in the cross hairs first?

There's something magical about having a specific goal we ​see clearly in our mind.

Suddenly, we start noticing all kinds of ​sign posts and ​opportunities leading us in that direction.

​​That said, ​one thing I've noticed is about the Law of Attraction movement is that many ​of people who preach the loudest about ​the "law" seem to have an aversion to a key part of the success equation.

​Positive thoughts and feelings are great. If anything, they can make us happier.

But thinking and feeling will only take us so far.

I’ve heard quite a few “deliberate manifesters”—or whatever it is they’re calling themselves these days—claim that if you see something in your mind and tune into the “vibrational frequency” of it, you’ll get it.

That life will just hand you whatever you think and feel good enough about.

That it is LAW.

​Universal. Law.


Now, don’t take what I’m about to say as a slight against Oprah...

I like and respect her. She helps a lot of women.

And she has ​a number of the cult-building strategies I teach coaches and entrepreneurs dialed in better than most anyone on the planet.

The woman has built herself a CULT.

​But remember when her fans discovered The Secret on her show and were going to “manifest” their dream lives?

They told everyone about it! "I'm going to have a mansion and a ya​cht and a perfect body and ​marry a tall, handsome, successful guy who​'s the strong silent type but also funny and caring, and we're going to..."

​Well, how do you think that worked out for most of ‘em?

The reality is...

​Most of their lives don’t look a whole lot different today than it did then it then except their older and (most) a little fatter.

Now, because of what I do for living (which is help entrepreneurs with personality-driven businesses build cults of devout customers and clients) I know of ton of successful entrepreneurs, coaches, and gurus—including a handful of the people featured in The Secret. Four of them, to be exact.

​One of them is John Assaraf.  

If you’ve seen the movie The Secret, John’s the dude who realized he was living in the exact house he’d put on his vision board years earlier.

​I’ve been to that house. It’s beautiful.

And John’s a powerhouse of positivity and wisdom. Guy’s awesome.

But here’s the thing…

John didn’t just sit on the couch and “manifest” his dream ho​use like so many LOA ​manifesters would like to believe.

Hell. No.

John worked his ​ass off for that ho​use.

I’ve seen him in action. The dude ​gets stuff done.

Sure, his mindset has played a huge role in his success. HUGE role.

Our minds can do incredible things.

But it wasn’t just John’s thoughts and feelings and staring at his vision board that bought ​him that home.

It was YEARS of hard work coupled with specialized knowledge in his industry—real estate.

An industry where he once ran a team of 1,500 associates across the world who sold more than four billion in real estate a year (earning John nine figures in annual commissions).

Did he just “manifest” all that by thinking and feeling about it?

Did he run his team by just sitting on his couch thinking about ​all the ​sales they were making? 

Hell no. He got up early and worked hard and smart.

​John once told me he spends Sunday nights planning out all the work he’s going to accomplish throughout the upcoming week.

Sure, every day he goes into his meditation room and meditates and visualizes.

But when he emerges—in his alpha wave state—he goes to work.

Now, I realize, selling people on the idea that all they have to do is think and feel about what they want, and by some universal law they’ll get it, is an easy sell because, let’s face it, there are a lot of lazy people who want to believe just that.

Hell, I want to believe it. But it’s not reality.

​Now, as I said, because of what I do for a living, I know a TON of successful entrepreneurs.

And many, like John, believe in the power of what’s often called the Law of Attraction.

They’ll tell you that, before they created their empire, they first saw it in their mind.

Many knew with certainty that they were going to achieve it. They could FEEL it in their gut.

But every single one of them will ALSO tell you they worked their​ ass off for what they’ve built.

Unless your only goal is a front row parking space at the mall, visualization (with or without positive feelings) is only part of the equation.

Not the WHOLE equation like many people selling Law of Attraction programs would have you believe.

The ​movie The Secret—which I actually enjoyed and watched a number of times—caused a great deal of people to expect something for nothing.

​But the fact is, thoughts and feelings MUST be accompanied by action.

And the bigger the goal, the more massive the action

If you want to achieve something worthwhile…

Make it goal and write it down.

See it and feel it. FEEL its inevitability. 


Take action.

Wishful thinking is fine and dandy can give provide a sweet little dopamine boost.

But nothing can take the place of massive amounts of bold action.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

Whether you agree with me on this subject or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

If you got something from ​the post, please click the "like" button—at the top and bottom of ​the post—share it on social media, and maybe pass it along to someone you think it would benefit.

And if you’re a coach, expert, or run a business where YOU are the brand, ​then read what I wrote RIGHT HERE.

It’s about how some ​entrepreneurs are building ​tribes of devout customers and clients who ​buy all their products for years on end​ ​and evangelize for them like crazy (which means lots of referrals).

Read it HERE.

Talk soon,
Big Chris ​

P.S. Don't forget to share and comment!

How to Boldly Promote Yourself in a Super-Cool Way


​If you run a personality-driven business, where you’re the face of your brand, bold self-promotion is a must.

But there’s an art to it—a balancing act—a lot of self-promoters miss.

An art that's helped me sell a heck of a lot of coaching and information products online​, has helped make a number of my clients very wealthy​, and can have a significant impact on your ability to attract, influence, and sell.

And it can also make you a lot more likeable.

Let me explain how it works…

Recently I’ve been promoting myself as the guy who helps coaches, experts, gurus, info-marketers, and entrepreneurs who are the face of their business build a cult of superfans who buy again and again and again. 

In other words, I help entrepreneurs like yourself, leverage the power of kickass content to fascinate your target audience, convert them into a devout tribe of customers and clients, and sell to them for years to come. 

Something most people have no idea their content is even capable of doing (I get into it HERE).

Now I haven’t done much of it for myself since 2013.

In fact, for the past six years, 95+% of the work I’ve done has been behind the scenes for my clients.

So, after stepping out from behind the curtain, I suddenly remembered how uncomfortable self-promotion be can sometimes be. For me, at least, it can feel awkward. It’s not natural for me.

Doing it for other people. No problem. I can hide behind the keyboard.

Doing it for myself. Well…sometimes it can make me feel like an asshole.

Because I don’t hold back.

And not only am I an introvert who frequently gets hit with bouts of Imposter Syndrome (something many self-made successful people have, by the way—especially in the coaching/guru industry), but I hate feeling like I’m bragging. 

Yet, with my goals, self-promotion is crucial.

And, if you’re an entrepreneur—especially if you’re a coach, expert, guru, info-marketer, or run any kind of personality-driven business—it is for you as well.

It was a little over a decade ago when I had my first big aha in this area.

Dan Kennedy said something that changed my perception of business in a way that’s served me well to this day.

You see, I thought, as a personal trainer, I was in the business of helping people reach their health and fitness goals.

I thought, as a coach, I was in the business of changing lives.

I thought, as an info-marketer, I was in the business of dispensing quality information that taught people what they needed to know to reach their goals.

And while those are vital facets of the different businesses I’ve built, the REAL business a coach, info-marketer, or personal trainer is in, is self-aggrandizement.

You have to continually remind people of your ​incredible abilities. 

Your powers of helping people get fit or make money or whatever the heck it is you help people do.

And you better supply proof as well (case studies, testimonials, names of clients who are succeeding with your methods, before-and-after pics, stats, etc.).

There's a reason I have testimonials all over my websites.

A reason I make sure ​​people see success stories like this video from my longtime client BigMike Straumietis talking about the role I've ​played in driving is his ​company to over $100 million-a-year in revenue, with millions of IG followers, and clients in 104+ countries.

Watch it here. It's only about a minute long.​

​​And this one from Sam here who​se business (his supplments and 100+ location Camp Transformation Center) is also now doing over $100 million a year...

​Sam Bakhtiar

​​Founder and CEO of The Camp Transformation Center (with 110 locations) ​

​Within three months of hiring Big Chris McCombs I made back over 1000% on my investment…

No one knows how to connect with readers and make sales like Big Chris McCombs.

I hired Big Chris for marketing coaching and to create influential content and direct response marketing material for my business. His copy CONVERTED like crazy and on every call he gave me a step-by-step action plan. And right after each call, I implemented what he’d taught me and the results were immediate. Leads came flooding in.

Now, I know A LOT of smart, savvy entrepreneurs and marketers, but I can say with confidence that Big Chris knows sh*t about marketing that NO one has even ever heard of.  Some people call him a genius, but I say he’s a mad scientist.

No one has taught me more about marketing than he has. Using his strategies is like taking a stealth bomber to a gun fight.

Within three months of hiring Big Chris McCombs I made back over 1000% on my investment.

I now have over 100 locations and every day I’m CRUSHING my competition. My facilities are EVERYWHERE now.

“Oh, and Big Chris’s Mastermind? I’ve been in many and his is BY FAR the best I’ve ever attended."

​Even just putting their testimonials in this post is very intentional on ​my part. I mean, obviously, right?

​It helps me get my point across, helps me teach what I'm teaching here, AND promotes the hell out of myself.

I have an armory of proof like that (see a ton more of it HERE) I make sure my audience sees.

​Now, many biz owners and coaches get that part of the equation.

They get that they must aggressively promote themselves and leverage the power of social proof.

Sure, a lot tread WAY too softly the self-promotion, and are often timid about it, something that, for many, almost guarantees failure…

…but a lot “get it.”

That if they don’t promote themselves, who will?

That they need to beat their own drum as if they were Lars Ulrich from Metallica bashing the hell outta his skins to "Damage Inc."

HOWEVER, the problem is…

…being so bold about it can easily make you appear arrogant.

​Every day I see many of the same coaches promoting themselves on Facebook, shouting to the world, “I get my clients results, and I can get you results too.”

Nothing wrong with making such claims (provided you can actually back them up).

And there are infinite ways to make such claims. Some audacious and in-your-face. Others more subtle.

And it’s good to hit it from all angles.

However, if you’re not careful, you could end easily end up sounding like high and mighty asshole and repel the very same people you’re trying to attract.

Something I see every day on social media.

Be bold, sure. But you don’t want to come across as full of yourself.

So what’s the key?

Balance out the never-ending barrage of self-aggrandizement with a few sweeter ingredients in that cocktail of self-promotion you’re serving up.

You see…

By the grace of some power greater than myself, I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in years. But back when I drank, I liked my liquor one way.

Whiskey, Vodka, whatever—give it to me straight. Fact, just hand me the damn bottle, thank you very much.

But most people prefer their Jack with some Coke and ice or their Vodka with OJ or some other sort of juice or mixer.

Alone, the stuff is simply too strong for most people’s palates.

It’s the same with promoting yourself.

Unadulterated self-aggrandizement is simply too harsh for most people.

A major turn off that’ll have ’em shaking their heads and scrunching their noses in disgust.

And, yes, it’s good to do things like weave in all sorts of helpful tips and “how-to” content and do what you can to communicate that you CARE about getting them results.

That stuff’s a given.


They must feel they ​benefit from the relationship they have with you.

And they must feel you care.

But there’s something equally as important.

Yet it amazes me sometimes how few coaches and experts do it.

Many of the successful ones do. Because they’ve learned. And it’s part of what’s made them successful.

But most never learn.

Here it is…

When you boast about your amazing powers, the key to not coming across like you’re full of yourself is to mix it with one or more of the following…

  • ​Disclose flaws 
  • ​Admit vulnerabilities 
  • ​Self-deprecating humor
  • ​And praise others

Doing so creates a powerful combo, enabling you to self-aggrandize like you’re Kayne West and Donald Trump's love child, but while STILL being likable.

And, in the business of self-promotion, being likable is a must.

You don’t have to make everyone like you. 

In fact, they shouldn’t ALL like you.

But, if you want to build a tribe of superfans, you need some people to LOVE you.

And if you’re content makes some people love you, it’s likely to make some people hate you, too. And that’s okay.

Because, let’s face it, if you’re going to boldly share your message, especially if it’s going to have any real heart behind it, you’re going to turn some people off. Irk them even.

And instead of having everyone just like you, you’re far better off to have some people hate you, most people not give two-shits about you, and some people (and it doesn’t take many) LOVE you.

The ones who love you become superfans. And…

The value of one superfan can by 1000% or more the value of one ordinary client or customer.

A superfan buys every product you release that’s relevant to them, ascends to your highest-ticket programs, and sticks around for many years or even decades.

They’ll fight for you. Evangelize for you. And are PROUD to have your products and services in their life.

They love what you represent to them.

Now, when you admit your flaws and vulnerabilities, not only do you come across more humble and likable, but you seem more honest as well.

People think, Well, shit, if he’ll cop to that, he must be telling the truth about this other stuff.

​It’s a tactic often employed by direct response copywriters to gain their reader’s trust.

PLUS, when you admit some of the less than pretty—or less than strong or admirable or “perfect”—aspects of yourself, people will connect with you on a human level in a way they’ll never connect with most coaches, experts, or biz owners who don’t practice the same sort of openness.

AND it enables you to bond deeply with anyone who’s faced similar issues.

Something that can do more to create superfans than even the value of what you teach.

Now, I must admit…

Sometimes when I disclose flaws or vulnerabilities or bust my own balls, I overshoot the mark (which I’ve been known to do with a lot of things).

And, sure, being so open may lower my overall conversions. But because I make a habit of putting it all out there, I end up working with super cool people who resonate with the real me, warts and all. Men and women who are a joy to work with.

It also goes a long way toward creating superfans and deepening the bond we have.

My content may sometimes seem like a right-brain, stream of consciousness, thought spill.

​But in reality, ​​it's all deliberate.

There’s a steel toe boot of purpose behind it all.

Including ​the weird shit. (;

Wherever you promote yourself…

…be it in your social media posts, YouTube videos, blog posts, podcasts, email newsletters, webinars, stage presentations, products, wherever….

Be bold.

Don’t hold back.

Let the world know what you do. How good you are it.

And display proof.

Prove to your ideal customer that you can take them to the promised land.

But ALSO show your human side.

​Be likable and open.

Be a real person.


And remember to disclose flaws and vulnerabilities, bust your own balls (with self-deprecating humor), and praise others.

We like people who can pick on themselves.

Who admit things most people would be scared too.

Who are willing to say, “Hey, I’m not the jetting-setting badass I play on social media.”

Who lift up others. Take the spotlight off themselves and shine it on someone else.

So mix these sweet flavors in with the hard stuff of gutsy self-aggrandizement, and your audience will catch a buzz for YOU and what you have to sell.

(In an upcoming post, I’m going to reveal something else I do to create a connection with my readers. You won’t want to miss it. So if you’re not on my email list, be sure to opt-in, which you can do at the bottom of the site or in the top right corner.)

I hope you enjoyed this post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

If you got something from it, please click the like button, share it on social media, and maybe pass it along to someone you think it would benefit.

And if you’re a coach, expert, info-marketer, or run a business where YOU are the brand, ​then read what I wrote RIGHT HERE.

​It’s about how some coaches and experts are building cults of superfans who buy from them again and again and again.

Read it HERE.

Talk soon,

Big Chris McCombs

P.S. Don't forget to share if you got something from this! I put a lot of myself into this free content and it really helps when people like you share it. (=

When the Worst Things Turn Out To Be The BEST Things


The other day I wrote a post about how two of my most financially successful friends and clients deal with adversity.

And that got me thinking about something strange that happened…

Now, to anyone who’s never fully given themselves to an exercise regimen, or been obsessive about hitting their goals, part of what I’m about to say might sound silly.

​And hey, maybe making a big deal out of what happened IS silly...

But I was PISSED.

You see, I’ve pumped iron much of my adult life. I first started in 1988. 

And shoulder injuries have plagued me since the beginning. I'm talking since week one.

Sometimes it got bad, but usually the pain was bearable. Something to work around.

In 2002, after foolishly pre-exhausting my rotator cuff muscles with external rotations before a semi-heavy set of bench press, I felt and heard tearing in my shoulders as I lowered the bar to perform my first rep.

Both ​of 'em blew. Totally shot. Especially the left…

For a week my left shoulder was an inch-and-a-half higher than my right.

It hurt like hell just to put a shirt on, towel off when getting out of the shower, or reach for something.

For a month I had to forgo all upper-body pressing movements. The pain was too great and I could feel the motions further damaging the shoulders.

A year later they were still giving me grief.

I feared surgery was the only solution.

I’d heard a lot of great things about Active Release Techniques (ART) and found a practitioner. Twice a week he smashed the muscles around my scapulae with his rigid thumbs as I moved my arm this way and that.

The pain was glorious.

Within a month I was 95% better.

It was amazing. No more clicking, popping or nerve pain radiating from rhomboid to thumb.

I knew re-injury was never far off, but managed to avoid it.

By 2010, along with my business, my build and how much I could lift topped my list of priorities.

I spent a lot money on food, nutrition coaching, supplements, and anabolics. I scheduled my life around my training.

I liked the identity of being a big, buff motherfucker.

​I felt like The Rock...

​As I’d tried with money and recognition, I thought I could fill at least some of that gaping hole of ​inadequacy inside me with lean tissue.

I was lifting weights heavier than I ever had and was bigger and leaner than I’d ever been (I’m 6’6” and was a LEAN 265lbs at the time).

And my shoulders were strong, pain-free, and felt healthy.

In my mind, I saw myself getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I was so excited to have it all dialed in.

I was going to get HUGE!

I'll see ya in the ring Dwayne Johnson!

And then…

One morning, as Five Finger Death Punch kicked my ass through the earbuds with a thunderous firestorm of heavy metal awesomeness...

...I rolled back onto a bench with a pair of fat dumbbells to bust out a set of flat dumbbell presses.

Before I could explode out of the hole, a scorching ice pick stabbed me in the left shoulder.


I dropped the weights, sat up, and grabbed the shoulder.


I was so mad at myself. The injury could’ve been avoided had I not gone so heavy on an exercise I knew put my shoulders at risk

I know this sounds weird…

And people who’ve never had a taste of bigorexia or been obsessed with lifting or fitness goals may not understand this, but part of me was devastated.

Suddenly my goals seemed impossible to hit.

No doubt the gains for my upper body pressing structure would not only screech to grinding halt, but I’d just jammed the gearshift into reverse.

I hoped that by some bit of good luck, I’d wake up in a few days and it would be fine.

But it wasn’t.

And I no longer lived in the area of the ART guy who’d put me back together before.

After a super-light upper body workout that did nothing but depress me,
I spotted a new Massage Envy near the gym. I’d never seen it before.

Maybe some deep tissue work would help.

I told the receptionist to hook my up with whoever there was best as steamrolling the living shit out of people.

“I want it DEEP,” I said. Yes. Give it to me deep.

“I’ve got just the therapist for you,” the girl replied. She tapped her keyboard and eyed the monitor. “And you’re lucky. She had a couple cancellations and has openings at 4 and 5 today. One of those work for you?”

“I’ll take both.”

I returned at 4 for a two-hour session with the therapist. Her name was Veronica.

Here we are...

​Not only was Veronica the best message therapist who’d ever worked on me, but today she’s my wonderful wife and the mother of the three monkeys ​playing in the other room l as I write this.

Had I not mangled my rotator cuff, I never would've walked into the Massage Envy have met Veronica. Or had two a hours a week to get to know her, as she dug her dagger-like elbows into my warn-town muscles.

In fact, had not every second and inch of my life happened exactly as if has—the addictions, homelessness, incarcerations, and hundreds—thousands—of miscalculations—I wouldn’t have my children, Zoe, Seersha, and Bronson.

I may have three other children—with the same names even—but it wouldn’t be these little monkeys...

Everything in my life had to line up exactly as it has for my children to be my children.

When I was irked at myself for re-injuring my shoulder and bumming on how it screwed my whole program up, I never would’ve guessed it was a necessary for me to receive most incredible gifts of my life—my wife and children.

I can look at things far worse than a shoulder boo-boo in the same light. See the same patterns.

Like, say, my obsessive personality. Something that, when focused in the wrong direction—like substances or sex—has taken me to dark, desperate places.

But it’s that same personality trait that’s also enabled me to do things I’m damn proud of. Like…

​My obsessive drive made all that possible.

It’s my gift and my curse.

The gutter drunk, prolific serial killer, Olympic athlete, world-famous artist, broke and broken gambling addict, and billionaire business mogul all share this trait.

Where it’s focused is what matters.

On something empowering or devastating. Beautiful or ugly. Meaningful or futile.

These pics of me were all taken ​within a few years of each other...

In the top two my focus was on lifting and nutrition. 

Bottom left (where I look like I have no soul?)—pills. Lots and lotsa pills.

Bottom right—​well, writing, but also Veronica's good cooking. I topped 380 (have since lost 72 pounds with IF and OMAD). I'd simply replaced the pills with food.

​Where I point my obsessive drive is what matters.

This realization was incredibly liberating.

​That, sure, I have an obsessive personality. But it doesn't have to be a bad thing.

I knew that not only could I destroy my life like I did with substances every day from 1985-2000 (and again 2011-2012).

But I could do something great with it.

This was huge for me.

Something else I found liberating was what I learned from social psychologist and author of Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert.

Gilbert has spent a large part of his life researching what makes people happy and has given some fantastic TED talks on the subject.

When I hear him, it feels like I’m listening to a truth I’ve known since before I was born but forgot.

Truth I need to be reminded of.

Now, one thing he often talks about is prospection—the ability to look into the future.

According to Gilbert…

When we imagine the future, we tend to screw it up!

We see negative events making us miserable.

We overestimate how poorly we’ll fare in the face of adversity and see future events destroying us.

We’re also prone to believe events we view as positive will make us a lot happier than they actually do.

The reality is…

  • ​Humans far more resilient than we believe ourselves to be.
  • ​When we experience that which dread, it ends up not being nearly as bad as we thought it would be.
  • ​When we get what we thought would make us happy, it doesn’t make us a happy as we believed it would.

​In 1978, researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Massachusetts interviewed two very different groups of people—recent winners of the Illinois State Lottery...

​...​and recent victims of tragic accidents and were now either quadriplegic or paraplegic

Participants were asked to rate the level of pleasure they got from everyday activities like watching television, conversing with a friend, eating breakfasts, receiving a compliment or hearing a joke.

The results were surprising…

Most would assume the accident victims would be miserable and the lottery winners happy.

But that wasn’t the case.

The groups not only reported similar levels of happiness, but the accident victims actually reported being happier than the lottery winners.

As Gilbert’s says…

The good isn’t as good as we believe it will be, and the bad isn’t as bad.

And what we think will make us happy can turn out to be curse; what we think will make us miserable can be a gift.

Now, I’ve long “known”—intellectually—that mindset matters most.

Yet even knowing this and having no doubt th​at the key to inner peace is acceptance of the present moment as it is, my default reaction to reality veering from where I want it to go is often resistance and worry.

Isn’t that strange?

Fortunately, I've gotten better and better at catching myself. But it's still a struggle.

Looking back, it’s clear that much of what I’ve fretted over and opposed in life turned out to be exactly what I needed.

Whether I ​had to learn a lesson or toughen up. Or life just ​had to clear the way for something new.

Doors close, windows open, and sometimes the roof is torn off by a tornado.

​But were it not for the many tornadoes (which you can read more about HERE) I wouldn’t have many of the wonderful things I do in my life

​As Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

I hope you enjoyed this post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section.

If you got something from it, please click the like button, share it on social media, and maybe pass it along to someone you think it would benefit.

And if you’re a coach, expert, info-marketer, or run a business where YOU are the brand, DEFINITELY read what I just wrote RIGHT HERE.

It’s about how ​some coaches and experts are able to build cults of superfans who buy from them again and again and again.

Read it HERE.

Talk soon,

Big Chris McCombs

P.S. Don't forget to share this! (=

Why I Set Goals — and How I Kicked My Own Ass (and NOT in a good way)…


I began writing goals back in 2002. After years of selling something that is legal in my state today (but not then) and paying the price for it, I spent 1994-2000 broke, mostly jobless, and completely useless. I even went though a short period of homelessness. In fact, if not for the kindness of a good woman, I would’ve probably been homeless a lot longer.

Most of the jobs I had were throwing drunks out of bars. The gigs were part-time and typically a buck or two over minimum wage. I usually didn’t stay very long.

At age 30 I threw a gorilla-sized monkey off my back that had been pushing me down for 15 years and moved in with my mother (bless her heart.)

I started with a minimum wage job at a print shop and then began building my own personal training biz. I wrote down my goals, reviewed them, visualized myself attaining them, believed I could and worked my ass off.

Within a year I was making six figures. The most I’d ever LEGALLY made in my life. A year after that, multiple six figures. A few years later I started putting out info products ( ebooks, Video courses, membership content programs) teaching other trainers how to market and grow their businesses. I learned a TON about marketing. And marketing is a GREAT skill to have.

I was soon bringing in a RIDICULOUS amount of money. I’d made a good income in my personal training biz, but info marketing trumped that.

I upgraded my lifestyle, moved into a McMansion, bought a fancy new sports car, a new Harley Davidson Cross Bones, all sorts of toys, had a fat savings, and felt I had “made it.”

And with the help of science (pharmaceuticals) I got ripped: at 6’6″ I was 265, shredded and strong. I even sported a Mohawk (Today I think the damn thing looked ridiculous for a 40-year old man. Not that it wouldn’t look great on someone else, though. See silly picture of me to the right.)

Problem was…

I bought into my own PR. I let my success go to my head. I got cocky.


I was empty inside. I no longer thanked my creator every day for what I had. I was no longer grateful. I was selfish, egotistical, and more miserable than I had ever been in my life. More miserable than during my period of homelessness and kicking my ass (with the help of that big ass monkey I mentioned) a decade earlier.

I’m fact, I was so empty inside I invited that monkey back into my life and onto my back once again (after having shook him off back in 2000.)

You see, I thought the money and material objects would fill a hole that today, for me at least, I believe can only be filled spiritually. But I ain’t here to preach about my spiritual beliefs. I hate when people preach to me, so don’t worry, I will say no more about that.

My (now) wife pulled me back to my feet a little over five years ago.

Climbing out of that seemingly bottomless pit led to a transformation. Funny how that works. Sometimes we gotta go through the darkest of nights to get to the brightest of days.

I took a long hard look at my life and realized that …

A) Money will not make me happy

B.) I’d be much more fulfilled and enjoy life so much more doing something I’d love than chasing money.

So I began writing full-time. Fortunately, for some reason, people are willing to pay me damn good money to write for them. I work on my own fiction in my off hours. Now I love the stuff I’m paid to write. A lot of it is GANGSTER. And I’m big into gangster.

But while the money IS great, it ain’t like it was back when I was living in the McMansion, selling my own info products.

With my daughter Seersha. Today—as I write this—is actually her first birthday (=

Thing is…

I’m way happier today. Way more fulfilled. I enjoy what I do all day much more than I’ve enjoyed any other kind of work I’ve ever done. And I get paid to hone my craft. All. Day. Long. How cool is that? (Plus, the clients are work for are close friends and some of the coolest people you could ever meet.)

I would never have accomplished any of this stuff had I not set goals, believed I would achieve ’em, and then worked my ass off to hit ’em.

Today my goal is to earn enough money writing my own crime fiction that I don’t have to do anything else for money and never have to worry about money—that I make enough of my own fiction to be financially free and get to spend my days doing what I love: writing crime fiction. Because that IS what I want to do all day.

This goal is a bit more challenging than previous ones like “make six figures as a trainer” or “make millions as a info marketer.” I know a lot of damn good novelists who still work day jobs. I know a few others who bring in seven to multiple-seven figures per novel, and for the most part, they’re even better. But often times not by much.

Photo by David Oliva

What I have going for me is:

1. An obsession with hitting my goals

2. Fairly kickass marketing skills (it’s what i did for years)

3. The fact that I write 6 to 10 hours a day and get better every single day

4. My determination. When I set my sights on something, I am relentless. Dogged as a mofo.

5. Even though I’m an introvert I’m pretty damn good at making connections.

6. An awesome, supportive wife.

All that said, I am so grateful to get paid the money I do to write the kind of content I am for my clients. Their stuff is very similar to my own crime fiction, which is a giant blessing.

Try tellin’ this guy he’ll never make any money as a writer.

(By the way, any struggling writers who want to shoot me down for having financial goals tied to my writing or for believing that I can earn a damn good living as a novelist can go get fucked. Just cuz YOU ain’t made it yet doesn’t mean that I can’t. In fact, people telling me I can’t do something propels me forward. That shit’s like fuel to me. So bring it on.)

Moral of the story…

I never would have accomplished any of the cool stuff that I have had I not set goals in the first place. In fact, I’d probably still be making minimum wage.

So yeah, I guess you could say I’m big on goals and have benefited a ton from setting them.

Talk soon,

Big Chris

Well, this is embarrassing…

Well, this is embarrassing. Not only have I not blogged in over two years, I also got FAT.

The pic on the left was taken late 2010. I’m 6’6″ and weighed 265lbs at the time. The pic on the right was taken three days ago. I’m 385lbs and need to do something about it…again.

My motivation this time is different than before, though. While back then it was 90% about how I looked, this time I need to do it for my health…so my wife and children can have me around.

Let’s face it, I’m 46, and I’m sure I have a bunch of crap built up in my arteries.

I used to NEVER worry about dying. Now I worry about it every day.

I’ve gone up and down to extreme ends of the spectrum three times in the last 20 or so years. I get ripped and then balloon up. Right now I’m a balloon. The biggest balloon I’ve ever been.

I eat WAY too many sugars/carbs, especially at night. The only exercise I’m getting right now is 45 minutes brisk walks with my dogs about five days a week.

Here’s the thing: I KNOW what to do. For years I owned a personal training business. I lifted obsessively, did cardio, ate like a bodybuilder, and read everything about fitness that I could find.

My struggle is embracing/living a healthy lifestyle. And I’ll be honest, in that pic in 2010, I did a lot of things to get into that kind of shape that were far from healthy. I also obsessed over everything I ate. I was way too OCD about it all, and believe that played a part in my inability to stay the course.

I want to do it healthy this time, and in moderation.

I have a lot of things going for me…

– Like I said, I know a lot of the “how.”

You can I have a good bit of muscle hiding under all that fat.

– Even though I haven’t lifted consistently in a while, I have a ton of muscle under my fat, and I’m damn strong

– For years I’ve been prescribed injectable testosterone and HCG. But not crazy amounts like a certain dude who looks like me was known to take in a past life.

– I have a badass home gym, tons Rogue equipment, power rack, all kinds of specialty bars, heavy DBs, boxes, bands, landmine, KBs, you name it.

– I have an amazing, supportive wife (Veronica) who will cook healthy meals on the reg. And for the most part, she already eats pretty well.

– Because of the years I spent in the fitness marketing “guru” arenas, I know HUNDREDS of trainers, bodybuilders, fitness gurus, CrossFitters, powerlifters, gym owners, etc. from all over the world.

I have beautiful little children I love with my entire heart and know that if I don’t do something about my health, I’m not keeping their best interest at the forefront of my life and may end up robbing them of having me around until I’m a (big) little old man.

What I don’t have going for me…

– I write for a living, so every day I SIT on a couch or recliner writing and reading for approx 11 hours. NO EXCUSE.

– I have an insatiable hunger. Always have.

Again, that’s no excuse. So, I’m putting this post out to keep myself accountable to staying the course of a new, healthier path. And because if I don’t do something about it, now that I’ve posted this, I’ll feel like a major flake/jagoff /loser

So there you have it. This is where I’m at.

Talk soon,

Big Chris

P.S. If you have any tips on what works best for not only losing fat, but also keeping it off FOREVER, please comment about it below. It seems to me less than five percent of the people who lose weight are able to keep it off for good. I’d love to hear why you think this is.

Also, words of encouragement are appreciated (and for some reason, I feel like a major wuss for saying that. It is, however, the truth.)

How to Cure To-Do List Panic


list-h600I rolled out of bed with panic running wild through my blood.

My to-do list stared me down like a crew of cranked-out, roided-up outlaw bikers about a half-second before they barrel down on me to flatten my skull for knocking over their choppers.

Deadlines for copywriting and ghostwriting clients loomed over me hard.

Emails anxiously laid in wait in my inbox, screaming to be opened, so urgent needs and pressing expectations could be attended to.

And I had to call both my tax lady and my attorney. God bless ‘em, but I’d rather eat shards of glass drenched in Ebola mucus than hop on the phone and discuss the issues at hand. Calls like that tend to send my blood pressure through the roof and throw my A.D.H.D. into overdrive.

RUN, my mind screamed at me. Race down the to-do list so you can get all this shit done before the sun goes down.

As I poured high-octane, black coffee down my gullet, I reminded myself…

1. Thank God I have clients willing to pay me good money to do what I love.

I make money writing marketing copy—how cool is that?

I’m also paid to ghostwrite crime stories about high-level gangsters. Stories that go out to hundreds of thousands and even millions of readers and entertain the heck out of ’em. I’ve wanted to write crime fiction since I first saw Death Wish when I was about five years old.

PLUS, I get to do it all from my home office, hanging out with dogs and an arsenal of southern rock jams.

And my two-year-old daughter Zoe is right downstairs and pops in from time to time to give me hugs and talk about princesses and fairies and show me pennies she found on the floor and ask me for a pen so she can draw on the walls.

This is a million times better than waking up and having to fight my way through traffic to that minimum wage job at the print shop, like I did 13 years ago. In fact…this is downright fucking awesome! It’s what I’ve always wanted.

2. Thank God I have emails flying my way.

My clients value my service, and communication is just part of business. Without communication, there would be no business. And hell, email beats chatting on the phone any day of the week—something my introverted nature rarely wants any part of.

3. Thank God I have taxes to pay.

That means I’m making money.

4. Hey, I can afford an attorney!

There was a time when I couldn’t, and that sure sucked.

5. And, remember Chris, you’re WAY more creative when you’re relaxed and not in a hurry to get 10,000 things done at once.

Your work is better and you typically get more accomplished when you just do your best, focus on one thing at time, and throw your fucking heart into it. So chill out, dude. One. Thing. At. A. Time.

6. Action Alleviates Anxiety

When you’re doing one thing at a time, moving forward, it eases the anxiety. Thinking about tasks is stressful. Doing them, one at time, in the zone, without worrying about the rest of the list, is both relaxing and rewarding.

Well, damn, doesn’t that shift in mindset—the gratitude, action, and present moment awareness—make all the difference in the world?

Hellyeah it does.

Looking at it this way feels sooo much better than freaking out just because my to-do list is the size of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

My to-do list is a reflection of all the awesome stuff I have going on in my life…

It’s a list of things I want to do. (Well, most of it I do.)

There was a time in my twenties when I didn’t have a to-do list. My entire days were spent hitting doctors’ offices and pharmacies so I could score opiods and benzos and keep the dark clouds of impending withdrawals at bay. I was miserable, broke, and defeated.

Today I’m sober and have a damn good life, living by the beach in Orange County, doing what I love.

Focus on that.

I have to admit, though, being relaxed is making me a little uncomfortable. Feels strange. Better dump some more coffee down my throat so I can ramp up the tension again. Tension has been running buddy for years and it just don’t feel right not having him around.

Maybe I’ll wait a few hours for the next cup. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll wait a few hours.

Talk soon,
Big Chris

9 Ways You Can Make a Difference—Even if You’re a Selfish Bastard Like Me


141928597962243-w650With Christmas barreling down on us like an out-of-control freight train manned by a couple of insane little elves hopped up on energy drinks, ephedrine, and PCP, I figured it would be a good time to do a post about making a difference in the world.

Now, I’m just going to throw this out there…

I’m selfish. Have been my whole life.

I remember in the 6th grade my football team won first place and we all went to Round Table Pizza to celebrate. Everyone on the team got two slices of pizza. However, I noticed that there was one slice left in the pan, so I gulped my two pieces down like a stray dog—not enjoying even one single bite—just so I could claim rights to that final piece and get three pieces of pizza instead of just two like the rest of my teammates.

Doesn’t matter what it is, I always seem to want more.

I also think about myself constantly—my goals, fears, image, what I gotta do today, what agitates me, what makes me happy, what I want to avoid and achieve. Me, me, me.

Now, it’s no secret that only thinking about oneself is a surefire path to misery. No matter how good you look, how much money you make, how big your house is, how much awesome stuff you do or own, or how much sex you have, without some kind of selfless contribution to the world, it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 4.54.09 PM-w800-h600There’s never enough.

Most of us play movies in our head all day where we’re trying to figure out how we can get a bigger pile of gold and a smaller pile of shit.

The pile of gold is what we want: money, recognition, admiration, sex, approval, success, food, comfort, etc.

And the pile of shit is what we don’t want: pain, embarrassment, fear, poverty, loneliness, drama, crisis, and lack of this, that, and the other thing. (OK, some people actually DO want the drama, but that’s a post for another day.)

Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way out of this continual mental loop. It’s by thinking about other people and doing something to help ’em from the raw goodness of our hearts.

Now, sure, you can make a contribution through your career, or through books or info-products you release, or through paid seminars or mastermind events you put on, and that can all be very fulfilling. But without some form of selfless giving—meaning doing something without compensation, recognition, or an angle—I don’t think life can be lived at 100%.

And sure, Continue reading

Here’s a List of My Favorite Books – What Are Yours?


75F86412-985D-4FBC-92FE-BCAFCC9CF7C1-w330My favorite way to both start and end my day is by kickin’ back and enjoying a good book.

Here’s a list of my favorites—including personal development, business, fitness, and fiction. I’d love to hear what your favorites are in the comment section down below.

Personal Development/Psychology/Philosophy/Spirituality

The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield

Turning Pro by Stephen Pressfield

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

The Charge by Brendon Burchard

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Loving What Is by Byron KatieContinue reading

I’ve Been Running From This My Entire Life


Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 1.33.05 PM-w800-h600 I had no place to run. I screamed, cried, and tried to hide under the table. The big nurse holding the syringe blocked the door, while my mom tried to apprehend my little seven-year old ass and subdue me long enough for the nurse to have her way with me.

The promise of getting a Mad Magazine after the visit wasn’t enough to coerce me into voluntarily surrendering to that godforsaken needle of fate. It took being overpowered and held down. Or at least that’s how I remember it.

However, the real hell didn’t begin until after the injection made it’s way out of my tiny, undeveloped medial deltoid muscle…

You see, at the front desk my mom scheduled another appointment. I had to come back in 30 days for a second stabbing.

As we walked out of the doctors office to go pick up my promised Mad Magazine, I thought about how I could run away. Possibly flee the country if I had to. Or maybe even do myself in. All to avoid the hell of another puncture wound being perpetrated on me by the evil medical professionals who seemed to be only interested in one thing—harming innocent and defenseless children like myself.Continue reading

Here’s What My Dog Just Taught Me About Life


Zoe and Olive hatching some kind of plan

My 5-month-old lab puppy Olive just taught me a powerful lesson about life….

When Olive was about 2 and 3 months old, we crate trained her—meaning, we put her in a little cage and every few hours would take her out to go potty and play some tug-of-war and fetch.

This helped her learn to control her bladder and not turn my carpet into something that looked like Jackson Pollock had painted with wide swaths of urine and dog turd.

At first, she would work like crazy to get out—feverishly trying to dig through the cage’s door with her paws as if she hadn’t been fed in three days and we were dangling a nice fat rib eye steak just outside theContinue reading

The Most Important Thing I Know


C85E776D-BD19-4821-9898-BC964AD596C9-w800-h600When you have a blog like this one—or are a coach, mentor, parent, boss, teacher, or even if you’re…well…anyone—it’s easy to become impressed with yourself and all the cool stuff you know.

Not only have you taken classes, attended lectures, read hundreds of books and thousands of articles, passed the exams, gotten the credentials, and have an entire case full of trophies (or at least a box full of em’ in the garage or somewhere at your mom’s house)…

…but you’ve also trudged a hard road. You’ve scrapped with the best of ’em, conquered demons, flattened opponents, walked through the fire, and have even stared death square in the eye more than a few times and lived to tell about it. You have the scars to prove it.

And let’s face it, you’ve Continue reading

About My Dead Friends and the Sheer Awesomeness of Life

pic3-05-w800-h600This is probably the hardest blog post I’ve written.

It’s a fact of life that sometimes bad shit happens that reminds us of how downright awesome our lives are.

This is gonna get a little dark. But there’s beauty to be found here as well. And I promise, this post comes straight from my heart.

In 2002 I was working at a craft store called Tall Mouse, making minimum wage.

During my lunch hour I’d study for my personal training certification in the break room. While I buried my nose in my textbooks, my coworkers—mostly little old ladies—would eat their sack lunches and talk about their husbands, grandchildren, and what happened on American Idol last night.

The staff was made up of a bunch of cute-as-a-button grandmothers, teenagers who worked there after school, and dudes in their 30s and 40s whose dreams had died.

Christina Smith was 19, artistic, cute, and shy. She had an innocent little crush on me that she made known in the way bashful girls do.

However, I was more into bad girls at the time, and even though she was 19Continue reading

Simple 2-Step Formula REAL Badasses Use to Make Money


burning_buck-w200-h200Money. We all want more of it. Hell, who doesn’t want it?

You can do so damn much cool stuff with it, ya know?

The problem is, most of us focus on the wrong things when we try to get it.

Goals are great, but making money the goal isn’t NEARLY as effective at actually getting money as doing this:

1. Figure out how much money you’d like to make

2. Figure out how many people’s lives you need to add value to and in what ways to reach that goal

ThenContinue reading

5 Words That Will Get You Anything You Want—Or Even Something Better


briefcase-w800-h600I wanna share a five-word formula with you that can get you anything you want in life…or even something better than what you want.

I’m also gonna talk about something you’ll rarely ever hear discussed in the popular self-help circles—in fact, most of the gurus who teach the whole “attaining your goals”-type stuff aren’t even aware that this exists, and the ones who do treat it as taboo.

They’d rather just focus on the sugar-coating and stay away from the raw truth.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like what many of the gurus have to say. But there’s a shadow side to goal-setting and going after dreams that hardly anyone ever talks about.

I guess the truth hurts books sales or something. I’m gonna address this shadow side down below and explain why the shadow actually holds the keys to our destiny.

I also gotta let you know, that I was hesitant to Continue reading

Living a Life That’s Worth Dying For


Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 7.40.30 PM-w800-h600
It’s a depressing march…tiptoeing along with the masses to the humdrum beat of mediocrity.

There’s a place inside that wants so much more. It’s that untouchable part of us that wants to soar.

Challenge-the-Quo-w800-h600Drowning it in busywork, worries, television, wine, or best intentions might be the popular choice, but what drowns dies…and before you know it, the days turn into nothing more than a mourning of what could be, should be, and ain’t-never-gonna-happen.

When you follow your heart, it may take you to places where you fall down and they laugh in your face. None of that will matter, though, because the beat of your own drum will be so loud you won’t even be able hear one word the critics, skeptics, or dogmatic followers of the status quo have in store for you.

If you’re doing what makes you happy, it doesn’t matter one bit what anybody else thinks, says, or does.

In my own life, I have a deep and overwhelming urge to write about the shit I’m going through, what I’m learning from it, and then to share it with others. It’s what makes me Continue reading

Screw ‘Em and Then Do This


1546292_10152134733110358_438597974_n-w800-h600There are people who expect you to live by their rules. Often, it’s because they have no control of their own lives and find it more soothing to their sad little hearts to try to get others to live up to their expectations. And you happen to be one of those “others.”

There are people to whom you mean nothing more than what you can do for them. There are A LOT of these people. They see you as a pawn in their self-indulgent little chess game.

There are people who want to see you fail. Your setbacks make them feel a tiny bit better about their own life, even if just for a few seconds. In their eyes, your suffering is worth that little rush of superiority they get. I’ve encountered a lot of this in the business and marketing world, where oftentimes one’s success is measured by how much better he’s doing than everybody else.

Now I’m not just talking about your competitors, rivals, and enemies here.

Some of these people are probably close to you—amongst your coworkers, friends, and maybe even in your own family.

And then there’s you.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve Continue reading

How to Deal With Assholes (and Cool People Too)


BB66EC34-4602-407E-AF6F-019619DE95E0-w800-h600 In my early 20s almost all my friends lifted weights, did steroids, and smoked and sold weed.

Many of them got their weed from me. I had a network of about 25 dealers who I sold to—quarter pounds, pounds, 5 pounds, and some in the 10-50 pounds range. It was a good little business for a 20-year-old with no skills or values.

One time my friend Scott came over to pick up a batch. He walks into my place, breathing fast and heavy and tells me that some crazy guy in another car was chasing him, yelling at him and trying to run him off the road.

He said he thinks he lost him, but there’s a chance the guy might’ve followed him into my complex.

I take Scott upstairs to chill on my couch. He can’t sit still—he clenches his fists and keeps rocking back and forth, repeating to himself “Fuck that guy”

Just thenContinue reading

How to Get What You Want—Even if You Have NO IDEA How to Get it


Image by CaptDerp

Whatever it is that you want in life, I wanna let you know something…

I believe in you.

I absolutely 100% have no doubt that you can do this.

AS LONG AS you’re willing to do what it takes…especially if that means working your ass off, walking through your fears, and confronting your inner demons.

If you’re willing to do that, you got this.

If guys with no legs can break dance, high school dropouts can make hundreds of millions of dollars, and we can send men and women into outer space, then surely you can Continue reading

7 Ways to Create Badass Content


E61BEB88-2EA3-4829-8A13-047B2EDF531E-w800-h600How to Create Content That Inspires, Changes Lives, and Keeps ‘Em Coming Back for More…

We live in an incredible time where anyone who has something important to say can share his or her message with the masses, build a following, help a ton of people, and make an impact on the world.

The problem is, very few people are successful at it. Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be this way.

If you’ve been trying to build a following online who loves and shares your content, but it’s just not going as well as you’d like to, there’s a good reason for this.

The majority of the information out there on how to do this is completely misleading.

There’s seemingly no end to the number of “gurus” who will tell you that you just need to write regular blog posts, do guest posts and list posts, write catchy subject lines that are optimized for the search engines, build an email list using opt-in boxes and pop-ups, and share your content on Facebook and Twitter.

And while this is all great stuff, it’s simply not enough these days.

This post is different…

It is NOT about how to Continue reading

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